FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce has welcomed the interim report from the National Ice Taskforce, which the Prime Minister presented to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on Friday.
Mr Joyce said the New England Electorate communities had welcomed the opportunity to engage in the national consultation.
“Ice is a dirty drug,” Mr Joyce said.
“No class—the druggy version of picking your nose and eating it.
“But it is loyal; it will stick with you to the end, and efficient too, gets to the end, socially, economically, personally, quickly.”
He said while there is a still a lot of work to be done, there is collaboration between all levels of government.
Mr Joyce said his The Nationals’ colleague Assistant Minister for Health Senator Fiona Nash was playing an important role in the Taskforce.
“My good friend Senator Nash is doing something honourable, she is having a go at doing something. Like peace in the Middle East she has her work cut out.”
The Taskforce, led by Ken Lay APM who was Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police and supported by Professor Richard Murray and Dr Sally McCarthy received extensive input through 1300 submissions, as well as advice from experts and community members, all of which informed the interim report.
Mr Joyce said COAG agreed to work together to ensure individuals and families affected by the drug have a single contact point where they can go to receive information, counselling and other support services.
The Taskforce has identified six key areas to guide work toward the development of the National Ice Action Strategy which include:
focusing law enforcement actions;
targeting primary prevention;
improving access to early intervention, treatment and support services;
supporting local communities to respond;
improving tools for frontline workers; and
improving and consolidating research and data.
He said COAG also endorsed the work currently underway to develop a national cooperative scheme on unexplained wealth, noting this could reduce the financial incentives for organised crime groups involved in the ice trade.
The Taskforce will continue working with the Prime Minister, the states and territories and the Australian Local Government Association to develop a final report and strategy to be considered by the next COAG.